Improving an Icon: KLH Model Five Loudspeaker Features Acoustic Suspension Design, Combines Potent Power with Tremendous Sonic Accuracy
One glance at the mid-century design of the KLH Model Five tower speakers can evoke intense feelings about a company's commitment to sonic excellence. And one listening session with these loudspeakers will demonstrate how a classic model can be dramatically reborn. The KLH engineers have combined the best of yesterday and today, honoring the company's legacy by carefully crafting a three-way speaker built with acoustic suspension design, incorporating the latest advancements in transducer technology, and housing it all in an elegant cabinet made of West African Mahogany veneer. The KLH Model Five is the perfect speaker for serious music aficionados who value incredible imaging and intricate sonic details.
The acoustic suspension system remains at the core of the updated Model Five loudspeaker, but it has been redefined, using cutting-edge technology to articulate high-fidelity sound anywhere, in any room. Another essential key to the relaunch of this iconic speaker is the dedicated midrange driver, housed in its own internal enclosure. Overall, this design provides exceptional bass extension, resolution, and accuracy from a small enclosure, while the midrange driver is specifically engineered to reproduce the mid-frequency band, resulting in remarkable clarity of vocals and instruments.
Unlike most loudspeakers today, the Model Five does not rely on the stiffness of a conventional woofer's mechanical suspension to control the motion of its cone at low frequencies. Instead, it uses the acoustic stiffness of the air trapped within the enclosure to provide the necessary restoring force. This "air spring" improves the cone's ability to make long excursions, enabling it to accurately reproduce low frequencies without distortion.
The 10-inch woofer is also specifically designed to operate in an enclosure, based on the acoustic suspension principle. The high-current, flat-wire voice-coil, an aluminum flux stabilizing ring, and a 6-pound motor structure all help to greatly reduce distortion. The lightweight, 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter combines the virtues of accurate frequency response and dispersion characteristics that are smooth and natural.
The three-position acoustic balance switch (High, Mid, and Low) allows audiophiles to subtly compensate for the acoustics of their listening environment, creating a powerful but nuanced sound that's tailored for the room.
Each Model Five speaker is shipped with a 5-degree slant riser base made from 14-gauge steel. Besides its visual appeal, riser's angle ensures that sound is directed toward your ears when you're seated at a typical listening distance.
The Model Five comes with an Old World Linen grille cloth for a clean, classic look. (KLH offers a Stonewash Linen grille, too, which is also available from Music Direct.) Each grille is adorned with the classic KLH cast-zinc logo in the lower left-hand corner.
The combination of a vintage aesthetic, cutting-edge technology, and design principles that have stood the test of time makes the Model Five a loudspeaker that audiophiles around the world are celebrating. The engineers at KLH have crafted a true gem here, one that is accompanied by a 10-year warranty. Try out the Model Five speakers in your home with the peace of mind that comes with the Music Direct 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
"The new, re-imagined KLH Model Five represents an exceptional update to an iconic speaker design…. [If] you want to hear all the detail present in well-produced music, along with fulfilling, dynamic performance across the full frequency range, you won’t be disappointed."
—Thomas J. Norton, Sound & Vision
"Notes had realistic weight and body. These Model Fives are attention-getters of the first order, delivering a big soundstage and big, juicy dynamics…. The [KLH Model Five] let me hear all the differences between amplifiers and recordings via its clean treble, open midrange, and controlled, authoritative bass. The M5 was a forensic instrument when needed and an audiophile speaker capable of reproducing rich, true-to-the-source sounds when desired…. The KLH M5s are intoxication kings, urging me to hear my most beloved vinyl via its big personality and well-scaled dimensionality."
—Ken Micallef, Stereophile
"[This] is my new favorite speaker.... To my ears, the new KLH Model Five sounds extraordinary. Its detail retrieval and soundstaging are on par with some of the best standmount speakers I've ever heard. It images effortlessly, creating an immersive listening experience.... Vocal and instrumental clarity were such that I felt really connected with the music, which is most important."
—Mike Perez, StereoNET, Applause Award (YouTube)
"...KLH just set a master class on how to get it done right."
—Sean Fowler, Zero Fidelity (YouTube)
"The Model Five is, for me, a near-perfect hybrid between the clarity and immediacy one gets from high-efficiency loudspeakers combined with the raw grip and control really only found in high-end powered monitors.... I thought about starting or ending this review with a [video clip of hands] clapping."
—Andrew Robinson, "Best Loudspeakers Under $2,000," TheRobinsonBrand.com
A Rich History
KLH Audio was established in 1957 by Henry Kloss, Malcolm Lowe, and Joseph Hofmann. Kloss first made his name as part of Acoustic Research with the introduction of the AR-1 and its patented acoustic suspension system, which revolutionized the high-fidelity industry. Kloss later left Acoustic Research to start KLH, and immediately began marketing his own acoustic suspension loudspeaker designs.
The KLH Model Five was first introduced in 1968 and was a response to AR's popular AR-3 loudspeaker. The Model Five served as the heart and soul of KLH's success throughout the 1970s, and it was one of the best-selling loudspeakers of its era.
KLH re-introduced the Model Five in 2021. This new three-way loudspeaker features updated cosmetics, as well as all the major advancements in transducer design that occurred during the preceding 50 years. But the original acoustic suspension philosophy, cabinet construction, and size all remain intact, thus maintaining the appeal the loudspeaker enjoyed when it was first introduced.
The heart of the Model Five is the high-quality, thirteen-component crossover network, utilizing iron-core inductors and Mylar capacitors. This crossover network uses 12dB/octave filters slopes on all drive components, thus ensuring the best possible summation of drive elements over the crossover band. The Model Five's transition from one drive component to the next is virtually seamless.
The Model Five input panel is made from 1/8-inch aluminum and incorporates a three-position acoustic balance selector. The acoustics in listening rooms can vary widely due to the amount of soft and hard surfaces present (such as carpet and furniture). But regardless of whether the listening room seems too "live" or too "dead," the Model Five gives you the ability to rebalance the loudspeaker so it always sounds its best.